Independence Day is one of my favorite holidays. It’s always a time for food and fireworks, enjoying the summer weather and taking a moment to acknowledge the truly incredible events that led to our country’s creation.
Granted, we in California don’t have the history and artifacts of the American Revolution surrounding us like our friends on the East Coast. After all, California didn’t become a state until nearly 80 years after the Declaration of Independence was adopted. But I’m always amazed to consider that a rag-tag group of Americans throughout the 13 colonies who lacked formal military training believed in their mission so completely that they defeated the mighty British forces (with a little help from our allies, of course). The American story of the Revolutionary War is a story of underdogs prevailing.
And now here we are grilling steaks and kabobs instead of eating kidney pudding and jellied eels. Can’t we all celebrate that?
It’s interesting to note that the Declaration of Independence has a place in California history, by the way. During June and July of 1846, American settlers around Sonoma revolted against the Mexican government, which controlled the region. They used the Declaration of Independence as inspiration to secede from Mexico and create the California Republic. They were unable to form a stable government, though, and never were formally recognized. Their revolt lasted 26 days before the U.S. Army arrived to claim the area in the midst of the Mexican-American War.
The lingering effect? The California Republic adopted the grizzly bear for its flag, and the bear later was incorporated into the California state flag along with the words “California Republic.”
OK, there’s your history lesson. Now go out and enjoy the holiday responsibly. By the way, if you’re looking for state-approved fireworks, there are 295 California communities
that permit their sale and use. Have fun!